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Petulant Customer Service

June 6th, 2010 at 11:02 am

Good news, I hope! My sister works at a restaurant/hotel/marina complex. We were talking and I asked her if she would feel comfortable asking the hotel manager if I could have the Sunday inserts for any papers not used by the guests. Its the type of place that gives the paper to its guest for free. She said she would ask and didn't see it as a problem. My fingers are crossed.

I stopped at Riteaid this morning:

$7.00 (2) Old Spice BW 3.50ea (Food Pantry)
-3.50 B1G1 free

$9.89 (1) Gillete Proglide Razor (DS)
-4.00 $4 p&g coupon

$3.99 (1) Listerine Total Care MW (DNephew)
-1.00 $1 mfQ

$7.99 (1) Blink Tears (mom)
-2.00 $2 mfQ

-5.00 $5/$25 purchase Riteaid Store Coupon

$12.37 subtotal
.90 tax
$13.27 total

I paid with a Riteaid GC earned for the Allergy SCR

SCR's earned $7.99, $5, $3 = $15.99
Also earned a new +Up Reward of $4

So 19.99 - 13.27 = $6.72 mm/profit plus products
Excellent service!

Safeway:

$34.85 Total Cost
-23.44 Club Savings
- 7.35 Coupon Savings
= 3.51 Out of Pocket Cost

Originally the Out-Of-Pocket cost was $0.78. The clerk, started to shake and called customer service.

The customer service person who came over never introduced herself or greeted me. Nice service. She instead made a big show of gathering everything and saying I could not pay so little. Mind you that was before she looked at everything. As she looked at everything and matched them up she got agitated. Her self righteous attitude turned uncomfortable until finally she said ah-hah. You can't double this coupon. She added the doubled part of 4 coupons back in. Now 2 days ago a clerk had no problem with the same coupons. Hellooo, the matched part is paid by Safeway, not the manufacturer. But I decided not to argue about $1, but the ones for .75ea (2) I did. I felt legit about my use and issue. She said you can't get it for free and I said I didn't. The coupon is buy two items, which together cost $1.84 and the coupon doubled takes off $1.50, so I pay .17ea not free. First she held up two of the wrong items and was upset when I nicely pointed out she had the wrong items in hand, giving her the wrong total. Her answer was "look you are getting alot off and only have to pay $3.51." My thought is, "So? Why does she feel free to spend my money?" I just looked at her.

I dislike situations where people who don't understand coupons, aren't logical and then get mad when you nicely explain why their thinking is off or incorrect. I didn't say that to her, of course. She got in her mind a certain amount I should pay and wasn't going to deviate. Ughhh. She turned on her heel and left. I shook my head and paid, so in a sense she won, I suppose. You win some, you lose some. The clerk, meekly said have a nice day. I smiled and said thanks, you too. I guess she thought I would take her head off.

Guess what was in the mail I went thru when I got home? Coupons for more than $10.00 in free products from Safeway. I suppose its witchy of me to hope she is working that day. I could torture her by following the rules and still paying less than $1.

To be honest, I am considering contacting customer service. I try to follow the rules of each store. As they are all different, it is possible to make a mistake. Thats no excuse for her to be rude.

Last Nights Wanderings...

June 5th, 2010 at 07:24 am

Stopped after work at the GiantFood in Edgewater. They don't have a spot for the .99 Reach toothbrushes, but they did have double packs from last Christmas priced at .99 hanging on one of those hanging thingys behind a freestanding cardboard Colgate display. Bingo! I scored 2 deals for a total of $8 OYNO and the cost to me was .24 after MQs.

Major mistake. This is where my Walgreens is located. I put away my Ecotrin $2 off MQ and did not bring them with me. Walgreens had restocked enough for me to score $30 in RR if the cashier had let me, but my coupons were at home. Don't let this happen to you. If the sale isn't over don't put your coupons away. I was really ticked at myself.

On to Safeway, I got:

.49ea 16 Mac&Ch
-8 .55/2 doubled

.75ea BC cake mix
1.09ea BC icing
-8 .75 doubled

total after coupons $1.76

A 96% savings.

The cashier was funny. She is really nice, but new, I've had her before a few times. She said "You use scissors to cut your coupons, that's a first." I asked her what other people do and she said "They just rip them out." I told her "I couldn't do that it might damage the barcode." She said "I know, customers get mad when I can't take them without the barcode."

Two New Deals

June 4th, 2010 at 08:37 am

Two new deals have popped up for my 1 year food pantry project. One at Safeway and one at Giantfood.

Safeway has coupons out for $1 off the purchase of any O organic product. The canned beans are at a new low price of $1. Stock up time.

Giantfood has a new catalina deal. Its $4 OYNO if you buy 4 Reach Toothbrushes. The prices are .99-3.99. I have .50MQ that double, so I will get the .99 ones as available. It lasts from 6/1 to 6/24. I checked with the stocker who handles that area in my store and she said she it expecting a shipment in Saturday morning early and they should be out by afternoon. I did a test run last night and got $2 OYNO for buying 3. Out of pocket with tax was 1.11.

I spoke to my son last night. He said his training is going well. I told him I missed him and to have fun at Marine Camp for the next 3 weeks. Hey, not everyone gets to go to camp for a month in the summer. lol. Its gets me through.

Financial Movie Rating System

June 2nd, 2010 at 08:02 pm

How good is the movie? What would you/I pay to see it?

Order of Value:

Pay ? for IMAX 3-D
Pay 11-12 for 3D in Annapolis, Upper Quality Theatre
Pay 10 at Upper Quality Theatre,Annapolis
Pay 5 at local theatre matinee
Pay 1 at Redbox/Blockbuster Express
Pay 0 wait for it to be available at library
Pay 0 watch it on TV in a couple of years
Pay 0 never watch, or you pay me to watch

Although available, I haven't been motivated to drive an hour+ to do the IMAX 3-D. I will admit to thinking about it.

I've paid twice for 3D and been pleased. I wish they would credit you if you bring your own 3D glasses instead of making me/you pay each time.

I usually do the $10 Upper Quality Theatre with my sister. She can rarely do matinees. Doing Redbox with her is challenging because she usually falls asleep 1/2 way thru the movie, lol. She has to watch a movie a couple of times to see it all the way thru.

I prefer the $5 matinee since it is less expensive and rarely crowded. It also attract a different crowd.

My family and friends know my rating scale. So if they have seen a movie I just ask where it fits on the rating scale. I will admit that some movies are better on the big screen. Most do just as well in the dark on my 42" HDTV.

I saw Prince of Persia and for me, it was a $5 movie. I liked it alot. I hope they do a sequel. I understand 2 more are planned. I would definitely see it again on DVD.

Memorial Day

May 31st, 2010 at 10:31 am

I headed out shopping this morning. There was a deal with overage at Safeway. Raincheck pickup at Foodlion. Lowest price at Walmart.

Safeway was:

8 Carefree, 4 Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, 2 "O" Organic Teas, 2 Compleat Meals/Hormel = $47.61
$47.61 - 46.97Disc/MFQ = .64 (.12 was tax) The Carefree will go to the food pantry + 2 peanut butter.

Foodlion was a raincheck pickup for my SIL. 4 tides at 4.88 = 19.52 - 4MFQ = 15.52 + 1.18tax = 16.70. She was thrilled with the price.

Walmart was to pickup mom her Caltrate. It was the lowest price I could find for 200 pills at 13.97 after coupon. Anyone with ideas for cheaper let me know. My has severe Osteoporosis controlled with meds to mild.

I've been clipping expired coupons to send to Marines and their families stationed in Japan. Its something I can do for those serving so far from home on this Memorial Day.

My son is at a training camp in California. Its the training all Marines go thru before heading to Afghanistan. He is supposed to be camping in the desert at a machine gun range right now. The Corps has informed him he has a natural apptitude for machine guns why didn't he sign up for machine guns when he joined? Duh! I could only think perhaps he would have known if that was taught in HS. Yeah, right! I can picture that now. Heaven help us all. Otherwise, how would he know he has a "natural apptitude for machine guns". I swear and declare my eyes are rolling.

I know its not summer camp, but I would love pictures as he goes thru the training process. One week down, 3 more before he comes home for a 2 week leave. Smile



Effects of 1 Year Challenge

May 29th, 2010 at 06:28 am

Games are for kids and challenges are for adults, lol. Same thing, just a different word. But it helps me immeasurably as I move through life. Drudgery can be fun and/or exhilirating if shared or done as a contest. Although I procrastinate, its not so much when in a challenge. Plus a challenge helps me develop and keep habits I want and/or want to maintain. Having this forum helps me to have accountability. So my thanks to all of you even though you don't know you are participating.

One of my weak areas in my budget has been eating out. Each month I would swear to do better. When I eat out it is almost always with a gift card, coupon or using a restaurant promotion (combo of the three). That makes it much easier to rationalize. This challenge without even thinking about it has brought my eating out down to much less than my budgeted amount.

Plus my at home food bill is much much lower. I'm incorporating todays eating/shopping with my 1 year challenge. An example is the Kraft Salad Dressing has a $2 off produce when you buy 2 bottles, well my dressing is free so the produce is free. I can do this once a day (coupon rule, not mine) so I could get $14 in produce free this week. Another store has BBQ sauce on sale with coupons. I could get the BBQ sauce and 1/4lb of hamburger free. I know that is small but do that BBQ deal 4 time in that order and you have a free lb of hamburger and 4 BBQ sauces. I like BBQ sauce for summer, I love it for meatloaf in winter.

I got my credit card bill for this last month yesterday and I was shocked at how low it was. I had to go over twice as I was sure there was a mistake or something just wasn't on it yet. It was 50% lower than usual and that is with just 3 weeks of the challenge. I charge everything. Yes, even my .31 orders. Why? So I can't escape or forget my monthly expenses and so I can get credit card points to go to my gift cards. I payoff my bill every month. This month I will do it proudly.

93 Cents

May 27th, 2010 at 06:50 pm

After twice through the line at Food Lion I ended up with:

15 Kraft Salad Dressings
9 Jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter (I debated with
myself whether or not I should get All Natural)
6 Benedryl

The cost of each deal was 31 cents. I saved over $60 off the full retail value. Some would not pay full retail, so I saved about $45 off the sale price.

Structure of a deal is important. It allows you to get the maximum for your money. Although doing it on the grocery level gives small returns each time, adding up to alot over time, it is definitely a lesson for bigger life decisions and choices.

Kraft Deal at Food Lion

May 26th, 2010 at 06:39 pm

The deal is actually better than I thought it would be. The Kraft Dressing is listed in the sales ad as 2 for $4. At the store the MVP price is 3 for $5 or $1.67 each. So my initial purchase cost me $.78, not the $2.50+ I thought it would. And, add to that on the display was another coupon for $2 off produce with the purchase of 2. So, I got 5 bottles of Kraft dressing for $.78oop and got back a $3 catalina. I used that to purchase 5 more bottles and some bananas, crown broccoli and a 16.5oz jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter for ta-dah drum role please...$.23 cents plus I got another $3 catalina.

I now have 10 bottles of dressing and I will continue to use the overage to build my pantry and accummulate Kraft dressing. Foodlion doesn't have there computers quite right yet so I will only do 2 deals a day. Anything over my needs will go to the food pantry.

Having the goal of purchases for free or pennies has really helped me focus. There are lots of good deals out there, but having this criteria keeps me focused and creative.

Starting Sunday, Walgreens had a great deal. Ecotrin is $2 with a $2MFQ and then a 2RR. Assuming there is any on the shelf, I already know how I want to spend my freebies. Barilla pasta 2/$2. Imperial Sugar $2.19. Peanut butter $2. Smuckers Strawberry $2. A Foodlion is just across the street so 2 deals in one trip. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Learning Curve

May 23rd, 2010 at 07:25 pm

I've done alot of deals at CVS, Riteaid, Target and Walmart (not a food store Walmart/Target). With my new goal to stock up on 1 yrs worth of food I have to get good at grocery stores. I do alright, I shop the sales, use coupons, etc. But I don't take it to the heights others do. Some have it down to a fine art. To meet my new goal I have been "lurking" on the grocery threads at slickdeals.net.

I've been able to stock up on a years worth of cereal and Zatarain's rice. By paying attention to several posts I put together my first deal, not just a copycat.

Giant Food:
(4) boxes Zat's Rice
(2) Bumble Bee Tuna 2.5oz
(2) Gulden Brown Spicy Mustard
(1) jar Francesco Rinaldi Sauce
(1) lb Ronzoni Smart taste Spaghetti
(1) lb Salt
= $19.49 - 18.74 sales/mfq = .75 oop

Being pleased I thought I'll do it again but not get the salt and my oop will be .06. Nope:

=18.80 - 18.19 sales/mfq = .65 oop

Might as well as bought the salt. I used the exact same coupons. The only change was I did not buy the salt. I know what happened, just not why. One of the coupons that doubled at .55 did not double in the next two rinse and repeats without the salt.

What will tomorrow bring with the same items and coupons? The couponing adventure will continue... I plan to do the same deal several more times. Instead of salt I will get bananas or apples.

My Riteaid deals went off without a problem, I now have:

(2) 14 pill packs of Cetirizine
(2) 20 pill packs of Loratadine
(1) Squeeze Container of Hellmann's
(3) 4 packs of Noxzema razors
(1) lb of Morton's salt
(4) Visine
(1) Cascade Dishwasher Detergent

My total oop $1.69 after sales/discounts/store&mfq. I used a gc to pay the $1.69 and I should get a $2 scr for the Cascade. So a .31 mm.

Why I bought so much salt is beyond me. One I prefer Sea Salt and two I don't use salt except in cooking with a recipe calling for it.

CVS was successful also. I did 3 deals.

deal #1
(2) Gillette Bodywash $4 ea
$8 - $4/2MFQ - 4ecbs = .48 oop tax got back 8ecb

deal #2
(3) jars Ragu Spaghetti sauce
(2) jars 30 oz Hellmann's Mayonnaise
(2) cans of Lindsay Olives
= $12.98 - $3.75MFQ - 8ecbs = $1.23 oop got back 3ecb

deal #3
(4) 16.9oz Nivea for Men @$3.99ea
$15.96 + 1.02tax = 16.98 - $3/$15 - $12mfq = $1.98 oop
got back $5ecbs

Condensed:
Started with 4ecbs, Spent 11ecbs, ended with 8ecbs
Oop costs: .48+1.23+1.98= $3.69
8ecb(ending) - 4ecbs(starting) - $3.69 = .31 profit and lots of things

Nivea for Men/Gillette Bodywash -Food Bank or Homeless Shelter
Zat's Rice - Food Bank

Planned vs Unplanned Purchases

May 22nd, 2010 at 06:46 pm

Most of my purchases are planned. I work out the deal ahead of time using sales, coupons (store & manufacturer), rebates (store & manufacturer) and discounts offered. Ex. of discount vs sale is Riteaid's Wellness Card gives a 10% discount on nonsale items purchased.

I even purchases items I hope I will not use. Why? Because, if I get the flu/food poisoning and need Immodium (generic) I will probably have to ask someone to get it for me and they will not get generic and I will pay full price on a name brand. Ouch! So I now try to weave items like this into my deals to get them for free or pennies. This week it is Visine and generic Claritin for the fall allergy season. In September, the sales for cold and flu season will start and it will be stock up time. I noticed I'm getting low on tylenol so I will be keeping my eye out for deals. There are some sales but the cost is not low enough yet.

I'm careful to look at expiration dates. Its easier to do this when you feel well and are not rushed. Some expirations can extend out for 2 years or more. Those dates will be my first pick. I look to the back of the shelf for the longer expiration dates since stores put closer exp. dates to the front (unless the stocker is lazy or rushed or customers pawing thru the stock, lol Wink. I always fix any mess I cause looking thru stock.

If I constantly pay full price for things it is hard for me to save money and do the things I want to do without going into debt. Living on debt, to me, is like living on the edge, if I want to live on the edge it will not be because of debt. I would choose traveling, a great book or movie, etc. not debt.

Although this is serious, I took learning about the sale/couponing/rebate process like a game. Learning the rules like you do to Bridge, Monopoly or Texas Hold'em. There are rules and strategies. It can be fun. It can be serious. For some it is intense. But in the end it is up to you what level you take it to, and how successfully it works for you. Will you win and to what degree?

Another Free Deal for the Project

May 19th, 2010 at 07:18 pm

I admit to Grocery Store envy at times. I will read on blogs about this store or that store having items free with coupon and live no where near those stores. I mean way far away. The grass is always greener as they say.

These last ten days I've had 2 really good deals in my stores. The first was the cereal deal at Safeway. The second is the Zatarain's deal at Giant Food. I have it down to an art now. I'm in and out with 16-32 boxes in about 15 minutes at zero dollars out of pocket.

I love their Dirty Rice. Sooo good! I am now the proud owner of 56 boxes in different flavors for my one year food project and with one more day to go for the sale I plan to get 32+/-. Some will go to the food pantry, and some will stay here. The coupon in my area is $1/4 boxes. Other areas got a $1/3 boxes which would have meant I could use the overage to buy other items. But, hey, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to get a rice I love for free.

I stopped at Safeway. They have a new catalina deal. Buy 2 ziploc containers and get a $2 cat. I understand its not in all parts of the country yet so YMMV.

Safeway Deal:

Buy 4 get them for $1.99 each

$7.96 =4 x 1.99
+ .35 =tax
- 4.40 4 x .55doubled
- 4.00 $4 in oyno cats
= -.09 Got back $4 oyno cats

I bought a gallon of milk to soak up the overage. Its on sale for $1.99 a gallon. Safeway has given me the overage in cash before but I try not to do that. I have enough coupons to do this 4 more times.

And, I clipped the Box Tops off for my school. So, that is another .40 savings. With budget cut backs every little bit helps. Believe me when I say it adds up and makes a difference. If you don't have children in school, the schools would still love to have you donate them.

Project Renamed

May 10th, 2010 at 07:05 pm

The Soldier Project is officially renamed the Marine Project. I have been informed by my son that he is not a soldier, he is a Marine. To all Marines out there, no insult was intended. I plead ignorance and ask forgiveness!

We assembled 26 of the 38 personal care bags. Once we got started it was hard to stop. Each student was going to do one bag and that turned into 6 bags each very quickly. America used to have work parties. Kind of like the Amish do now with barn raising canning parties, and quilting bees. Working together made the whole thing fun and time just flew by.

I stopped at CVS tonight:
5 always pantiliners, 2 stayfree pads, 2 reach floss, 1 CVS shampoo, 2 30ct cotton swabs after coupons and 4 ecbs I paid .68 (everything gets donated)

Next stop Walmart:
2 visine, 4 benedryl topical sticks, can of 12.5oz white breast chicken after coupons = .76 (all but the chicken will be donated)

Last stop Safeway:
1 dozen eggs, 1 eating right dinner, 2 boxes cereal, 2 boxes BC cake mix, 2 cans BC frosting, 1 box BC brownies, 2 gal milk after coupons and $4oyno = .74

The clerk was using the automatic change machine so I grabbed my change and left. Out of habit, I checked my change and realized other folks must have left their change, because I had $1.07 in my hand. So technically after coupons I made 33cents.

I think I'll offer to bring a cake and ice cream to this weekends triple birthday celebration.

Two Grandnieces

May 9th, 2010 at 04:49 pm

My grand-nieces came down for a visit. They are 5mos and 17mos. Two the cutest little sweethearts to hit this earth. Perhaps I am a little prejudiced, but then I am allowed.

My mom who is in ill-health was so excited they came down. She loves being a great grandmother. There is just something about little tiny ones that makes everything fresh and new even when you don't think life is stale.

We were told not to buy any clothes for them since they were given oodles of clothes from their mommas sister. The good news is the order is rescinded, size 24mos and up is a go. Store sales and yard sales here I come.

I put together a gift bag of J&J baby bodywash and lotion, kleenex tissues, J&J bath buddy soap, benedryl itch stick, aveeno hand lotion (for mom), and sunblock spf 30.

I seem to have about 2-3 baby gift baskets to put together every year so I've decided to stock things so I don't have to do any last minute shopping. This has paid off handsomely twice now. By planning ahead I have $0-2 out of pocket. I would guess the retail value at $30-35. I only buy if it is on sale with coupons and/or rebates to make it free. Then it sits in the cupboard awaiting its chance to go into a basket and bring joy to a new addition and their family.

Lots of Free Sunday Coupon Inserts

May 6th, 2010 at 07:06 pm

I get the Sunday Paper. I can get all the Red Plum inserts I want for free. The Smart Source and Procter & Gamble are another story. Lately a family member who had been giving my alot of inserts said it was not longer possible. I was very sad, but understood Frown Well, today that person dropped a box at my feet (literally) with 22 each of last weekends inserts. I looked at that person in shock and said "Thank you, but how?" The reply was "oh we asked the person in charge and they said no problem, go ahead."

It won't be every Sunday, but it could be twice a month. Yahoo!

With so many inserts, I will have to use a different method of organizing them. If I don't my place will soon look like a hoarders holiday home. To each his/her own but that would drive me nuts.

Riteaid Wellness + Card

May 4th, 2010 at 07:54 pm

I've heard other express exasperation with the wellness card. They say it makes it hard to plan purchases. Since I try to get as close to zero out of pocket as I can I understand. It seems random. I've had my card for 2 weeks. Not enough for a discount and yet I seem to be getting one. Today it worked in my favor. Yea! My out of pocket should have been $2.50+tax with a rebate of $10. Instead my out of pocket was $1.06 including tax. I used my Riteaid gift card from the allergy rebate. I'm not complaining just confused.

My wellness+ savings is 18.50, my coupon savings is 26.50. I guess if I paid full retail (not in this life) it would have cost $45. I guess I will now have to develop a list of filler items of different prices 1,2,3 in case of overage.

Soldier Project Update

I have all I need for my soldier project. 38 Marines will have razors, shaving gel, deodorant, q-tips, wipes, body wash, tooth brushes, toothpaste and dental floss to take with them to Afghanistan. There are also misc things like Visine, sunblock, lotion, topical benedryl for bites, and other things. Not enough for all but the list will grow as August approaches. Now I can have my students assemble the bags. They are excited about the project. We'll put on music and have a lot of fun.

Saving on Silk Prom Dresses

May 3rd, 2010 at 07:22 pm

Two years ago, my son went to his senior prom and did it up. Tux, haircut, limo, new shoes, dinner out, prom tickets, corsage and I know there was more I just can't remember it all. His girlfriend, same person today, shelled out even more. Okay, her parents did.

This year is his girlfriend's senior prom. She is an incredibly beautiful person inside and out. The expenses were considerably less this time around. Experience can really shave the price off things.

Son's Expenses:
Tux- Pebbles, $117 (2010) vs $185 (2008)
Shoes - Military shoes, not free but not new for the prom
Haircut - same price
Dinner Out - Prom provides excellent heavy appetitizers, dinner wasn't necessary as proved 2 yrs earlier and reconfirmed last Saturday night.
Limo - Chose to take nice car
Corsage - no change

Girlfriend's Expenses:
Borrowed Silk Prom Dress: beautiful, red carpet dress in silk, the real deal, her cousin dress last year
Tickets - ? not sure but similar in cost
Hair - same
Jewelry - new, Kohl's lots of tasteful bling
Shoes - lots of tasteful bling
Tanning Salon - new this prom, unsure of cost but common to paid $50 for a few sessions

They saved at least $600. Very smart of them. I wore my prom dress once, my sister borrowed it for her junior prom and bought her senior prom dress.

Since I'm no longer married and I have no daughters, I've often thought of giving my dress to someone to dress up as Glenda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz (lol). Yes, ballgowns were popular at the time. I paid thousands for my dress and it sits in a box in storage. Oh well, I probably won't because I remember asking my grandmother to see her dress and finding she had gotten rid of it made me sad. Someday I might have a granddaughter and she might ask to look at and try on my dress. So, I suppose I will wait and see.

Deals and Rebates...

April 26th, 2010 at 02:33 pm

Other people knit, show dogs, garden, watch tv/movies, gossip, and the list goes on for a hobby. Me, I love to find sales, coupons, rebates that allow me to walk out making money or paying pennies to the dollar.

I love to read, spend time with family, go walking, but I admit to being addicted to free/almost free shopping. If I go to long without, I get irritable and shaky (LOL).

There was a time I was restricted in what I could buy. No dog, why get free dog food. No cat, why get free cat food. No baby, why get diapers. Don't eat Coco Puff, why get it even for free. This is no longer an issue. Well I still refuse Coco Puffs due to it being a dessert not a meal, while people treat it as breakfast.

I now have a list of groups who want my free items. Thank you all for allowing me to feed my habit/ addiction. Local middle school, food pantry, homeless shelter, animal rescue, coo-workers, family and friends. Even my expired excess coupons now have a home overseas in Japan on a Marine Corps Base (Yea!).

Riteaid will pay me $4.71 to take ownership of (3) 2.5 oz aveeno lotions, milky way miniatures, (2) dove haircare, (2) stayfree pads. (Riteaid rebate checks)

CVS will pay me up to a $1 to recieve (2) 2oz of Suncare.

Safeway paid me $6.46 to purchase (4) bottles of Extend a Clean Scrubbing Bubbles. I had to do that deal 4 times for $25.84 in catalinas plus more cleaning products than I can use(on your next order).
I had coupons for 2 more deals ($13 more for me)but I don't take the last of a product off the shelves (unless I am buying 1 or 2 only), so I gave the coupons to an interested cashier.

There were other deals this last week at Foodlion, Safeway, and Target.

I got a $15 (3x$5) from SC Johnson today. Yeah. I paid $2 to get $5 (x3), so a profit of $9 plus lots of ziploc containers. P.S. Quick turn around on the rebates.

Too much fun.

Thinking Outside the Box

April 18th, 2010 at 01:09 pm

I was in CVS and they had run out of skin wipes. I had been using the kids section to pick up travel size wipes a few at a time. I refuse to clear out a shelf (especially when using coupons)as I think it is rude. A few at a time gives the store time to restock if they want.

So, I was wandering around the store waiting for a prescription to be filled. What did I see in the adult section? Next to the Poise and Depends were adult wipes. Not only that, but they were 75% off making them $.49 each. After reading the package I decided they are the same as childrens in adult packaging. Plus, they are half the price.

Slowly over the past 3/4 days I have been buying 4 at a time. They are perfect for the Soldier Project and because I use a CVS coupon, I don't even pay tax.

Getting excited about not having to pay sales tax probably sounds really cheap. Hey, its just .06 per dollar spent. But look at the numbers.

38 soldiers X 10 products each X $3 avg price X 6% sales tax = $68.40

That's right I can save $68.40 by not being required to pay tax or getting a rebate to cover the tax. A rebate covers tax if I pay the tax but get back more than I paid for the product plus tax. Ex. store A sell product b for $5+tax= $5.30 - $1MQ = $4.30 and the store is giving a rebate of $5. Not only a MM but the sales tax is paid by the store. Anyway, I suppose not technically but thats how I look at it.

I tend to get more for the dollar in value than any government I've seen. But then I get line item veto in my budget and the President doesn't.

Insured/Uninsured Dental Care Costs

April 14th, 2010 at 05:37 pm

To take care of my tooth/nerve infection, I saw 3 Dentists. First was my general practitioner who referred me to an endodontist. The endodontist ended as a consult referring me back to my general Dr for referral to an oral surgeon. Twenty years ago your general was general and did it all. Not so now. Now I run all over to see Specialists racking up fee after fee and putting mileage on my car and losing time from work.

Everyone gets a consult fee. The part that is grossly unfair is how it increases the costs for people without insurance. If my insurance pays for the consult the Dr get $35 and if insurance says they won't pay then I pay $75. I had to pay the $75 up front so it will be returned to me. But, I think of the uninsured. They should pay $35 up front. They actually cost the Dr less because there are no forms to fill out, no waiting even a day for the money, no extra storage for the forms in paper or computer space, no extra employee to deal with insurance companies. If anyone should pay more it is the insured. We are the expensive ones. This is just common sense.

I really like my Dr. I've been with him for almost 20yrs. However, I may consider looking for a dentist or group of dentists where I won't have to travel so much and take off work. Consult fees of $225 when one dentist should be able to numb the area and pull it out in one visit is too much for my frugal soul. Oh, and that $225 doesn't touch the actual tooth being pulled. That is an additional cost.

Free Free Free

April 13th, 2010 at 07:58 pm

I took Mom to the Doctors so I drove her in her car. We stopped a few places for me and a few for her.

CVS
Scanned my ExtraCare Card and got coupons for $1 off CVS brand paper product and $1 off CVS brand skin care item.

Travel pack of Cotton Swabs .99
Travel pack of Skin Wipes .99
Both CVS Brand
Total after CVS coupons FREE, not even tax

Riteaid
Schick Razor 8.99
Crest 3D Toothpaste 2.99
(4) Compleats Meals
Hormel @1.99 ea 7.96

Minus (4)MQ Compleats 4.00
MQ 3D TP 1.00
MQ Schick 3.00
$5/20 5.00

= $7.36 (inc.tax)
Riteaid Rebates are $8 (2TP+6Razor)
Or .64 moneymaker Free Free

CVS has toilet paper 2/$1 this week or 2 for Free.
I am still working on the Soldier Project so I chose not to purchase the toilet paper. For free I would try a roll and donate the other. Some other time I guess.

Walmart has travel packs of Huggie Wipes 16ct for .97 and I have a $1 MQ they can adjust down to .97. I have enough MQs to finish the wipes for the project.

To Date the Project Has:
38 Body Washes
38 Pkg of Razors
38 Dental Floss
38 Toothpaste
38 Toothbrushes

Will Have:
38 Wipes

Still Need:
16 Deodorants
18+/- Cotton Swabs

There are also assorted female products for 2 females.

Recipe for Dishwasher Machine Detergent

April 11th, 2010 at 01:09 pm

Credit goes to momisbroke.com. I wanted a place to keep this that I won't lose it. I tend to put things in a safe easy to find place and then its lost. LOL. I also like that she tells you where to find the ingredients. So many recipes like this don't.


Dishwasher Detergent

This is the easiest one, which is why I started here. My 9 year old son is now in charge of making our dishwasher detergent when we run out.


What you need:

box of borax (laundry soap isle)

big box of baking soda (Wal-mart laundry isle)

container of table salt

Rubbermaid 32oz or larger drinking bottle

funnel


Here is all you have to do to make it:


Pour 1 1/2 cup Borax into bottle using the funnel,

add 1 1/2 cup baking soda,

add 1 cup of salt.

Cap the bottle and shake well.


That's it. I just fill the regular wash and the extra clean wash bins on the dishwasher door, and turn it on. It washes just as good as the expensive stuff, plus it even scrubs off the gunk that the kids don't scrap off. I have a well and septic system at my home, and it is totally safe for septic systems too.

I have not done the math on how much it costs per batch to make, but I know it has to be tons cheaper than the store bought stuff. We have been using ours for three months now. I would not tell you how to make something if I have not been using it myself. So be assured, it is safe and works great. I would however keep it out of reach of little ones due to the borax!

Cheap Natural Easy Mosquito Repellent

April 9th, 2010 at 09:20 pm

I hate mosquito repellents that are sprayed or rubbed on. And, citronella just doesn't work for me. I decided to find a natural way to repel bugs, including the mosquito. I am the mosquitos favorite blood draw. They pass up perfectly good meals to attack me en masse.

Sprays give me headaches and I don't like the sticky feeling they leave on me. I don't care what the manufacturers say its poison and your skin absorbs it into your body.

So after a long night of search I found something that has been 100% effective when used correctly. Vitamin B1 is a natural bug repellent. Oh, one might still land on you though I find even that rare, but they fly off in a huff, noses turned up. That is perfectly okay with me. I don't want to donate anyway.

So here is what you do. Take your normal daily vitamin in the morning. Then, 20 mins minimum before you want to go out, take a B vitamin complex. I suggest the B complex because people get to the store and see lots of different B vitamins and can't remember which. Just get the B complex, it works fine. After 20 min. although I like 30 mins. personally go out and have fun.

The only down side is that your urine will be a bright yellow (your body excreting the excess). But, that is a small price to pay to no longer be the feast of the party.

$1 = 4 boxes cereal + milk

April 7th, 2010 at 03:57 pm

Food Lion has a special this week on Special K (haha). Buy 4 boxes at $2.50 ea = $10. I have 4 ($1) manf. coupons $10-4=6. Buy 4 and FL will take $5 of your order. $6-5=$1.

That was the deal I went in to get. I did not realize that the buy 4 Kellogg cereals get 1 gallon of milk free would overlap (until 4/10).

So, to my surprise and pleasure, for $1 I got 4 boxes of Special K and a certificate for a gallon of milk. Milk to go with my cereal, what will they think of next?

Cutting the Cost of Laundry Detergent

April 6th, 2010 at 06:35 pm

A web site recently asked readers what they pay for laundry detergent. Some make their own. Some buy on sale. I don't make it but I keep the recipes in case I ever have to.

Me, I combine 2 strategies.

Rarely do I pay more than tax for laundry detergent. I prefer Tide or Wisk but I am flexible. I combine sales, coupons, and rebates. This week K-Mart has coupon doubles to $2 and I got (5) 32oz bottles of All for the cost of tax. Sale price $4 - 2MQ doubled or $4 - $4 = $0+tax. Since I am stocked up on Tide and Wisk right now, the All Detergent was donated to the food pantry.

Even thought I pay little to nothing out of pocket, I buy the regular type of detergent for my HE front loader. Ten years ago, when I got my front loader it was hard to find HE detergent. I called Proctor and Gamble and told them that I had a front loader and still wanted to use Tide but there wasn't any HE Tide available at that time. They told me to just use half the recommended amount of regular Tide and it should be fine. So that is what I did and they were right. So my 32 load bottle is a 64 load bottle and I get the same cleaning action and results.

So my 2 main strategies are to:

1. Combine sales, coupons and rebates (goal is
$0+Tax or even less)
2. Use regular detergent for my front loader and
just cut the amount in half. (If the clothes are
especially dirty, add a little more, but not
much.)

Animal Shelter

March 31st, 2010 at 05:07 pm

One of my goals is to donate to the animal shelter. I just about never go in that aisle as I no longer have any pets. In fact, now that I think of it this is the longest I've gone without having a pet(21mos). I want to give food items.

Thanks to savingaddiction.com I found out about a mighty dog deal. The coupon is in this weeks SS.

Walmart 58 cents a can (ymmv, savingaddiction .57)
x 5 = 2.90- $3 off 5 cans MQ = -.10(toward tax)
and
.58 - .58 (1 free can MQ)= 0 + tax

did this deal 2x for a total donation of 12 cans.

It had me singing and dancing in the aisle, discreetly of course. LOL

Damaged Nerve

March 30th, 2010 at 02:56 pm

I saw the Dental Surgeon yesterday. It is unusual/rare to have the kind of nerve involvement my infection has caused. Only time will tell if all of the feeling will return and the tingling, cold sensation will go away. I had the tooth pulled today. The sooner it was pulled the better according to the Dr.(and me). I can decide on an implant later as it has to heal for 6mo or more first.

Lucky for me, so far, no pain. Not even much discomfort. I am a wimp as far as pain goes. The Dr. office called to check on me and they thought it was strange also. I comforted her by saying maybe it will hurt later this evening. I hope not for my sake. However, part of my lower face is still numb due to the infection, so maybe that is why there isn't any pain. The only thing that hurts is the injection site (novacaine) and one side of my throat.
I hate pain meds beyond tylenol. I really hate hydrocodone. Nasty stuff. If I don't take it by Thursday night I'm taking it back to the pharmacy.

My cost so far is $142. My insurance will cover $235 and if I get lucky and they cover the consult fee I will get back $75 from the Dental Surgeon. I knew I should have contributed more to my health savings account.

Good news! Safeway is having a sale on Aquafresh toothpaste. Buy 3 or more and its $1.50. I have MQ for .75 that Safeway will double. Do the math and yes, you are right it is free, free, free, well except for Maryland sales tax. I got 20 tubes this morning for .90 And, since I am still feeling okay I am considering going out this evening to pick up more. 10 for the soldier project and the rest for the food pantry. I have enough coupons for 23 tubes. I won't feel guilty clearing any shelves as the sale ends tonight and everyone else had all weeks to get theirs. Another item struck from the list as completed.

Toothbrush Shopping and Jewelry Parties

March 27th, 2010 at 06:05 pm

Giant Food has Reach toothbrushes on sale for .99 A good toothbrush for a great price. I took my B1G1 and $1 MQ with me. They had 2 toothbrushes. I put them in my cart and started looking around for more on a display or endcap. No luck, but I found the same brand and type in a 2 pack. Hmmm. I took one to a price check machine and the 2 pack was .49

Let me think about this: 1 for .99 or 2 for .49. What should I do? I rushed back and filled my cart with the rest of the 2 packs, all 8 of them. Then it was off to the checkout. I gave the cashier my b1g1 and $1 off MQ and ended up paying .27, the tax. Yeah!

I got a raincheck for 6 more singles at another Giant after the jewelry party.

Okay, I am about to admit to spending a crazy amount of money for a piece of costume jewelry. I love the piece. It is a bracelet. Its sterling silver with pearls and silver leaves. To be honest, I bought it for my niece. I told her that she has custody of it and I get occasional visitation upon request. It will look beautiful on her. Cost: $174 plus tax. I know, "crazy" but I can't bring myself to regret it.

Small Pox and other things

March 26th, 2010 at 08:55 pm

Grrr! I hate taking days off. I would have seen if the endodontist would see me later in the day if I'd known that the tooth can't be pulled out with that much infection in my tooth and surrounding area until I've been on the antibiotic for several days. In fact, the Dr. said here is my number, if the infection gets worse over the weekend I'll prescribe another antibiotic to go with what you are already taking. Gee thanks! He was very nice and I was nice to him, I just want it done and over with. Frustration.

So, I called my son to tell him about my tooth/infection and he said "Guess what? I have SMALL POX." He didn't yell the "small pox" but it reverberated in my head that way. I asked how and he said the Marine Corp gave it to him. WHAT? To be honest I still don't quite understand how this happened based on what he said but I will question him more tomorrow. I think (based on what he said) that he got it from the vaccine. They gave it to him 14 times. Huh? He seems to be unlucky enough to have developed a mild case of it(fever, tired, headache). Small pox can kill and it disfigures. He seems to be taking it seriously thank goodness. He promised not to pop the vesicle. They warned him it could spread if he pops it. I hope he doesn't scratch it in his sleep. Sound like a mom don't I? I will be saying alot of prayers.

Time to distract myself (or I will drive myself crazy with worry). Giant Food's sale this week includes Reach toothbrushes for .99 I have coupons for $1 off so I can complete the soldier project toothbrush collection this week for the price of tax. Hoorah!

I am officially done with body wash, toothbrushes and dental floss. I'm half-way done or better with deodorant and q-tips. I'm a third or better with toothpaste, wipes and razors. I'm still holding out hope that I will be able to give each soldier their own package of razors and not break the packages up.

So it was a great day at Target and Walgreens. No so great of a day at the dentist and speaking to my son.


Deciphering Receipts

March 20th, 2010 at 09:50 pm

I stopped at Food Lion today. Uncle Ben's rice was supposed to still be on sale so I wanted to get some. They always have unadvertised sale items so I looked around. Further up the aisle were BOGO Light n Fluffy egg noodles. And there were peelies for $1/2, so I got 4.

5 Uncle Ben's Rice $1
4 Light n Fluffy $1.76 BOGO

$9.75+7.04=16.79 - 4.75 (UB sale) - (5)$1MQ rice - 3.52 BOGO - 2 (2)$1/2 = $1.52

Life is an adventure when couponing. The rice was not on sale anymore though the tags were still up and said sale until 12/23/10. So the manager came over and adjusted the price. In doing so somehow an extra UB rice got added on. I knew the math was wrong when I owed $3+. I know what I owe before getting to register most times. I didn't want to hold the line up more than I already had, I paid. The receipts from FL are confusing at best. I finally took it over to the Customer Service desk and said look I know something is wrong and I was overcharged. I explained how I knew, they agreed and then took 5 mins. to decipher the receipt and figure out what happened. Good thing I had the time. The CS folks looked at me several times like "you got a great deal, why do you care about $1.75?" Its the principle of the thing and also its my money and I'm not a good steward of it if I don't take care of it. Plus I can do alot with $1.75 for my goals. I got my refund and moved on.

A Busy Friday Afternoon/Evening

March 19th, 2010 at 08:54 pm

I left work and headed to Annapolis to shop. They have a nice Shoppers Food store there. This Thurs/Sun they are tripling MQ to .50 and doubling to $1. It was great. Not crowded and I zipped through. I went through Slickdeals.net unexpired newspaper MQ and the printable MQ to put together possibilities. My total was $45.50 and after coupons it was $3.63 (md tax was .30 of the 3.63). I love stores that let you keep overage and put it toward other items! Everything is to be donated to the Food Pantry except the Solo cups/plates and the Gatorade. A flyer went out recently asking for most of this (not specific brands though).

4 Mahatma Yellow Rice Saffron
1 Minute Rice Brown
6 Cans Dole Pineapple
2 Ortega Fajita Seasoning
2 Solo Cups
1 Solo Plates
2 French's Worcest. Sauce
2 French's Brown Spicy Mustard
4 cans Carnation Evaporated Milk
2 Gatorade (for DS)
4 boxes Uncle Ben's Brown Rice
4 can Chef Boyardee Ravioli
4 bottle KC BBQ Sauce

My next stop was Target:

4 Bath Buddies (Food Pantry)
6 Gillette Body Wash 8oz (Soldier Proj)
4 Satin Care Shave Gel (Soldier Proj)
4 Reach Dental Floss (Soldier Proj)
2 Qtips (Soldier Project)
2 Benedryl Itch Relief Sticks

Total= $29.28+1.46tax=29.28-26.54MQ= $2.74oop

The cashier pushed her button and the light started flashing and I just smiled. I knew I was legal. The manager said "no problem, I've seen $300 go down to $20, you should coupon too, ...." LOL

Next it was off to Borders to take advantage of the Educators Appreciation Sale. 30% off educational and personal items, so I picked up a Sarah Brightman CD for my sister and a book for me. I used a gift card courtesy of points from my credit card. $0 oop .56 left on card.

My last stop for me was CVS.

6 Degree Deodorant (soldier proj)
$2.50 each
2 Right Guard Deodorant (soldier proj)
$2.50 each
1 Gillette Custom 3 Sens Razor 4ct
$6.49 (soldier proj)
1 CVS Razor Case (for DS)
$1 (clearance, unplanned purchase)
=$27.49+.12tax=
$27.61-14.50MQ-8ecb-3/15Q= $2.11oop
got back 5ecb+2ecb+2ecb=9ecb
Spent 8ecb to get 9ecb. It would have been just about breakeven if I had not impulse purchased the Razor Case. Oh well, I'm only human. LOL

I also stopped at Riteaid and Safeway for my mom. I got bananas at Safeway for .39lb (for me) and prescriptions for mom.

I'm very pleased with my progess for the Soldier Project. At this rate I should meet the challenge.


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